CSA Starts this week

Our CSA distributions start this week, with distributions on Mondays and Fridays from 2pm-6:30pm.

The warm weather this spring has given some crops a bit of a jump, so we have plenty of early greens and vegetables ready. Some of the summer crops that we have never harvested this early in the season are almost ready, including summer squash, zucchini, broccoli, and cucumbers. Unfortunately, the warm weather has meant that a few things, notably radishes, arugula, and the overwintered scallions, haven’t held in the field and are already done. But we will have future plantings of all three crops to look forward to later in the season.

With the start of the CSA, our Farmstand hours for the rest of the summer will be Mondays and Friday 2pm-6pm and Saturdays and Sundays 10am-5pm. Expect the best selection and freshness on Mondays and Fridays, as well as being sure that someone will be around. On the weekends, we will stay within earshot of the bell in the farmstand, but it may take a few minutes for someone to get there. Vegetable selection on the weekend will be limited to what fits in the little fridge or won’t wilt.

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Workshop Series

We are going to be giving a series of workshops over the summer. Right now we have three scheduled – a Scythe workshop on June 9th, a Seed Saving workshop on June 30th, and a Wheat workshop on July 14th. For more information, check out our workshops page.

Tevis will also be presenting a workshop on breeding and seed saving at the NOFA Summer Conference at Umass in August.

We’re planning to continue this series with more workshops on the farm through the summer and into the fall. If there is a workshop you would like us to give, please suggest it to us. Also, if you are unable to attend either the Scythe or Seed Saving workshop but wish you could, let us know – if there is sufficient interest we will offer those workshops again later in the summer.

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Spring Seedling Sales

The growing season is upon us, and we are working hard getting our crops planted in the greenhouses and the field. I know many of you are getting your gardens prepared. As we have done in the past, we have grown many flats of seedlings for sale in addition to the plants that we need to plant our own fields.

The Burgy Thursday Market starts tomorrow on the lawn of Meekins Library in Williamsburg! We’ll be there with lots of seedlings, as well as beef, lamb, eggs, and lots of greens (we’ve got spinach, lettuce, scallions, kale, and chard!). We’ll have seedlings at the Burgy Thursday Market through the beginning of June. (the market runs from 2:30-7)

You can find us this weekend at the Hilltown Spring Festival at the Cummington Fairgrounds on Saturday (10 to 5).

We’ll have our farmstand open on Sunday and Monday as well, from 10-5, for folks to stop by and get seedlings (or beef, lamb, wool, eggs, spinach, lettuce . . .). For the rest of May, we’ll be open Friday through Monday, 10-5.

What’s so great about our seedlings? First of all, they’re organic (not certified) – grown with natural fertility and no nasty chemicals. Just as important, they are varieties proven to do well in Chesterfield. We trial a lot of varieties in our fields every year, and we only sell seedlings of varieties that we have had success with here in the hilltowns. We even have a couple of things you can’t get anywhere else – because we bred the variety right here!

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CSA Signups

It’s time to sign-up for a summer CSA share! You can find out more about the CSA and get a signup form with all the details on the CSA page. We are planning on offering Fall/Winter CSA shares this year, but are not yet accepting signups for that option.

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Winter market

Just because it is winter doesn’t mean that we’re done for the season. We have been selling at the Northampton Winter Farmers Market for the past month, bringing beef, lamb, eggs, yarn, winter squash, beets, onions, shallots, salad greens, cooking greens, black beans, and wheat berries. The market is in the basement of Thornes, on Saturdays from 9am to 2pm. There are many other farms at the market also, with an impressive array of meat and vegetables, as well as cheese, bread, and even wine!

For our hilltown neighbors, our farmstand will be open on Friday December 16th and Friday December 23rd from 3-6pm. Stop by to get a holiday roast! We are also open by appointment during the winter.

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CSA season begins (& a new baby, too!)

Well, this spring is just moving right along. CSA distributions start on Monday! We haven’t quite finished our new farmstand, so unfortunately will be having to use the tent again for the first few distributions. But the farmstand is very close to being finished, so if we are able to find any time to work on it, we should be able to switch over into the new building fairly soon.

Finding time is getting to be a bit tricky. We (Rachel & Tevis) have a new baby – our son Owen was born a week ago, on the morning of Saturday, May 21st. The birth went well and everyone is doing great. Anona is very happy to be a big sister.Anona & Owen

Three Farmer’s Markets per week while trying to get all our crops planted keeps us plenty busy on the farm. This spring has (up until the past couple days) been on the cool and wet side, and a lot of fieldwork has been delayed by rainy weather. We are hoping to get back on track this week, if the weather stays agreeable. Some of our fields have been too wet to till, so we’ve had to move things around on our field plan in order to get crops into the ground in a timely fashion. Some crops we were planning to do for “fun” (like dry beans) might get squeezed out by the more valuable crops, if the fields don’t dry out soon.

We are also getting into haying season (as if we needed something else to keep busy), so hoping that some of this humidity and threats of thunderstorms will clear out so we can mow some hay without fear of it getting rained on.


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Organic Chicken Feed

We are switching our laying flock over to Organic grain. This is something that we have thought about doing off and on for as long as we have been farming, and we have decided that the time has come to make the switch.

We were using locally produced chicken feed from two farms, Maple Acres in Chesterfield and R & R Wirtes from Lanesboro, MA (near Pittsfield). Both farms grow grain, but also buy in a significant percentage of grain to supply their feed businesses. We feel strongly that it is important to support local farmers and small businesses, and so while we had concerns about bought-in commodity corn and soy, we felt that it was better to source our chicken feed as locally as possible.

Grain from these two local feed suppliers cost significantly more than commodity grain from a major corporation, such as Blue Seal, but still cost significantly less than organic grain. Part of our previous decision to use local, non-organic grain was the desire to keep our egg price lower.

Why are we switching to Organic now? There have long been concerns about negative health effects from GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). We knew that it was just a matter of time before problems surfaced. Well, that time is up. Scientists recently identified a tangible threat, and, frankly, it’s scary. What’s even more scary (though not surprising) is that the USDA is completely ignoring their research.

Researchers at Purdue University identified a new pathogen of a type that has never been seen before. It appears to them to be a micro-fungus – a fungal organism that is the same size as a medium sized-virus (which, if we remember our high-school biology lessons, are small enough to penetrate cell walls). And not only is this type of organism previously unknown, but this micro-fungus appears to be pathogenic in a wide array of both plant and animal species. Very very few pathogens affect both plants and animals.

What is the GMO link? This pathogen was identified in, and seems to mainly be associated with, Roundup-Ready crops. It is too early to tell whether it is the Roundup that it likes or some genetic trait in the GMOs. But the researchers found that it is associated with the GMO Roundup-Ready trait, and the pathogen was found in crops, feed, and in livestock fed feed containing GMOs. Read more about this pathogen here:


For those who aren’t aware, Roundup Ready Corn and Soy are widespread in the commodity grain system, and so anything containing corn or soy from a commercial, industrial source (i.e., the grocery store), unless it is Certified Organic or tested and labelled as GMO-free, should be assumed to contain GMOs.

So for now, we are switching to Organic Feed from Green Mountain Feeds in Vermont. Our egg price has to increase to reflect our new costs. We will continue to look for a more local source of organic feed for our chickens, but this is the best source we have found so far.

None of our other livestock are fed grain. We have long avoided non-organic corn and soy, but with this new information will be even more attentive, and encourage others to also avoid GMOs.


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